I’m writing this as an antidote, purely for selfish reasons, to all the doom-mongering about this past year. Yes 2016 has been a f*cking weird one, politics was like watching a car crash in slow motion and everyone and their mum (literally in the case of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds) popped their clogs. It was an odd year for me too, but on the whole positive, there were downs but what’s the point of focusing on the negatives? There were some moments I feel so lucky and privileged to have had, some amazing experiences and fun times that I’ll never forget. So here are my personal highlights of 2016…
1/ Going to India
I’ve wanted to go to India for as long as I can remember, it’s always been my number one dream travel destination. This year is the year I made it happen, and after saving for a looong time I spent a month there in February. I spent time in bustling Delhi (and even went on a crazy Tinder date there), the blue city of Jodhpur where I ha the best samosa I’ve ever tasted, saw the pink city and the Palace of The Winds, stayed in the most beautiful hotel in Bikaner, trekked on a camel into the Thar desert, watched the sun rise on the river Ganges and made some great friends along the way. It really was the trip of a lifetime and I’ll never, ever forget it.
2/ Seeing Skepta at Ally Pally and Field Day
Shut Down. I just love Skepta, and even though I don’t know him, I’m so proud of him. 2016 was definitely his year with a number 2 album and a Mercury Music Prize under his belt – all this as an independent artist. I saw him a Field Day which was sick, but Ally Pally was a moment. I honestly had tingles when he came on stage. Here’s to an even greater 2017 for him.
3/ Getting a new job
I quit my last job to go travelling which was a scary thing to do, so coming back to the UK I was worried about getting back on to the career ladder. I don’t mind admitting I applied for about 100 jobs (and not even half as many replies) and had countless interviews before I signed my contract at Dr. Martens. I’m genuinely proud to work for such a cool brand – I’ve always worn Doc’s, so in a way it’s surreal to be in charge of their Tone of Voice globally. I’m looking forward to really making the role my own in the coming year… and expanding my shoe collection too!
4/ Discovering Classpass
This sounds so geeky, but honest to Cher, Classpass has changed my life. I now can’t imagine a life without exercising. And it’s not an aesthetic thing, because to be honest, I haven’t lost weight, or drastically changed my body shape – I just enjoy the feeling of having a strong and fit body. Classpass introduced me to boxing which I’m pretty damn good at, reformer pilates and some fantastic and fun classes. Next year I’ll be continuing to train frequently and I’ll be trying out lots of new classes too. Oh, and I’ll never miss a week of Bikram again – I need that 90 minutes to align my chakras, whatever they are.
5/ Swimming with Elephants in Thailand
This was an amazing experience, and unlike anything I’ve ever done, I’ve never even been on Safari. I got to share it with my friend Sinead and this was probably one of the best days of my life. We were in Chiang Mai and went on a day trip to an elephant sanctuary where we fed, bathed and swam with elephants, then went white water rafting, then on a massive hike to waterfall then bamboo rafting. Obviously we were knackered by the end of it, but what an experience.
6/ Seeing the Taj Mahal
This is obviously such a bucket list item, I mean, it’s a wonder of the world. It’s so surreal seeing something you’ve seen in a million photographs, up close and personal. I touched it, I’ve been inside it. Well, me and millions of others, but it doesn’t make it any less special. It really is a beautiful building and it lived up to the hype. Seeing the Taj will always remind me of the EPIC dosa I had round the corner too… it was delicious.
7/ Going to Budapest
I enjoyed this city break so much, it was one of the most smoothly planned and executed trips I’ve ever taken and has made me want to do more European short breaks. Me and my pal Soph had such a good time doing all the touristy things and eating lots of bread. Also we listened to the Serial podcast every night before bed… a few years ago I’d have been dancing on tables, but as you get older, your passions change. Anyway, I’d highly recommend a visit.
8/ Visiting the Gili islands
I dream of Gili T all the time. It is paradise… I’ve never felt so instantly at home anywhere in the world, it’s right up my street. Maybe it’s the simplicity – no cars, limited wifi, no police, no worries. Or more likely it’s the delicious food, the cold beers, the friendly and hilarious islanders and the crystal blue sea? Just thinking of my friend Lulu and I cycling round listening to One Dance on a crappy speaker, the fun I had with my pals from NYC, Amanda and Candice, and my African mate Collins at Harry’s bar makes me break into the biggest smile. Thankfully I’m going back in 2017. I can’t wait.
9/ Spending time with my friend on Koh Tao, Thailand
Sinead, my old housemate, and I had a f*cking hoot on this Thai Island, every day was one for the record books and just so hilarious. We were girls gone wild and spent everyday swimming, sunbathing, drinking, snogging boys, skinny dipping, watching fire dancers and making memories. I can’t say too much here but it was fantastic!
10/ Like, realising stuff
This is a miscellaneous entry but special mention to my friends who let me crash at their houses while job hunting and even fed me, Broad City for getting me through down-time while travelling, Lulu for getting a bro tat with me. Also, this year we found out my friend Lauren has breast cancer – this was a blow, she’s so young and too special for this to happen – but she’s a fighter, go and read her blog to see how she’s (somehow) styling out cancer and making it all look easy. Solange’s album. Golden lattes. Also this is the year I realised red is really my colour.